New commander named at 106 Pct. - Queens Chronicle: Queenswide

New commander named at 106 Pct.

by Michael Shain, Editor | Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 10:30 am

The 106th Precinct, which includes Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Ozone Park and South Ozone Park, has a new boss.

Capt. John Costello, 43, a third-generation cop with family roots in Howard Beach, took over as commanding officer on a day of sweeping changes in the supervisory ranks of South Queens.

Four of the eight precincts in the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South division got new commanding officers on Monday [see separate story, page 16], in what has been characterized as a routine management shift.

Costello, the former head of special units at PBSQ, comes to his new command with a steel-trap working knowledge of the area.

“My father grew up right behind New Park Pizza,” he said.

“I couldn’t ask to come to a better neighborhood.”

Costello replaces Deputy Inspector Brian Bohannon, who was named to take over the neighboring 113th Precinct, also on Monday.

It is Costello’s first precinct command and he is the model of the modern police commander.

“My job is to listen in the beginning,” he said.

“Honestly, when I started in the department, the police were the police and the community was the community. It’s not like that way anymore, glad to say.

“Everybody is on the same side now. I can’t do this job without the community.”

Costello calls himself a student of the “precision policing model,” an approach popularized by former Police Commissioner William Bratton to manage law-enforcement organization by using data and analysis to target the suspects committing the most serious crimes.

“That’s the future,” he said.

The model worked well for him as the boss of the Queens South Fraud Investigation Unit that locked up 119 people in the last year on charges of falsely reporting their cars stolen in order to collect the insurance.

The unit discovered that one in every six stolen car reports this year was fake. “I was shocked too,” he said.

Police work, he said, is “innate, in-born with me.”

His father, who followed Costello’s grandfather onto the force, served as a sergeant in the 100th Precinct in the Rockaways.

Two uncles, two brothers and three cousins are or were cops.

“Every Christmas, the men in my family sat around the dinner table talking shop,” said Costello.

On his phone, he keeps a copy of a prized photo of his family — 10 cops lined up in uniform posed with then-Commissioner Raymond Kelly in 2014 at a Police Academy graduation.

On his first day in the job, the new boss has just one change he’d like to make.

A sidewalk shed has masked the front of the station house for at least the last five years during renovation work.

“That monstrosity has to go,” he said pointing to the scaffolding. “Both for the community and the cops. This a beautiful, historic building.

“Any elected officials, if you are listening,” Costello said, “It’s very uninviting. Help us get rid of it.”